On the final day before the All-Star break, everyone on the Tacoma Rainiers roster had something positive happen.
Every player in the lineup had at least one hit, and the pitching staff was solid all-around as the Rainiers beat Sacramento, 8-2, on Sunday.
The Rainiers connected for 17 hits, and seven players had two or more hits.
“It was nice to play a game and get to be in control of it early on,” said fill-in manager Andy McKay. “We had contributions from everybody in the lineup.”
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Two-out hits were contagious. Patrick Kivlehan’s two-out triple in the third inning gave the Rainiers a 2-1 lead, and started a spree of clutch hits.
D.J. Peterson singled to score Kivlehan and make it 3-1. It was the first of three hits on the day for Peterson, who went 3 for 5.
Ryan Strausborger connected for his first hit as a member of the Rainiers, doubling home Zach Shank in the fourth inning to put Tacoma up 4-2.
Peterson’s single in the fifth inning started a string of four consecutive two-out hits, netting three more runs. Rob Brantly capped the rally with a two-run single to right-center.
The Rainiers had three more two-out hits in the sixth inning, building an 8-2 lead.
Tacoma starter Jordan Pries pitched six innings to earn his second win of the road trip. He allowed two runs on six hits and struck out four.
Jarrett Grube pitched two scoreless innings in relief, and Paul Fry delivered a scoreless ninth.
“It was fun to be with the club for four days,” said McKay, the Mariners director of player development who was filling in for manager Pat Listach. “Pat gets his team back, and it’s right where he left it off.”
Tacoma goes into the break at 49-40, with a 2 1/2 game lead over second-place Fresno in the Pacific-North division.
Tacoma’s 49 wins are the most the team has had before the All-Star break since the 2013 club went 55-43. ... Pitching coach Lance Painter tabbed right-hander Cody Martin (7-5, 3.79 ERA) as the Rainiers’ first starter after the break; he’ll face Colorado Springs at 7:05 p.m. (PDT) on Thursday at Cheney Stadium.
The Rainiers have three days off. The Triple-A All-Star Game, pitting the Pacific Coast League against the International League, is at 4:05 p.m. (PDT) on Wednesday. The game will be broadcast on the MLB Network and 850-AM.
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Rainiers